A year ago last spring we were having dinner on the back porch when a cat began meowing in the woods beside the house. It was the loudest, longest, most desperate meows I had ever heard. My first thought was it must be an abandoned bobcat kitten. I felt a rush of adrenaline thinking this will be another fun rescue. The previous summer I was in the street when a severely dehydrated spotted fawn walked up to me bleating. Its eyes were caked with ticks and the fawn wobbled walking when it should have strong legs. All the signs indicated abandonment. I called for Carey and told her to get the fawn. My trooper wife didn’t hesitate and retrieved the deer.
The children fed the famished fawn and removed layers of ticks from its eyelids the fawn’s mother would normally lick off. Our Australian Shepherd’s breeding quickly kicked in protecting DD (Dear Deer). Soon Flip was licking the goat’s milk on DD’s chin as she ate. We did not attempt to domesticate the fawn, but when she heard the doorknob jiggle at feeding time DD beat Flip inside the house. Soon after losing her spots she effortlessly jumped the fence and rejoined the neighborhood deer herd in Rex.
The meowing moved closer to the edge of the woods when our kids spotted a large black cat. It was the cat that was photographed by the trail camera near the game feeder at two minutes after midnight. The feline appeared to be wearing a fur coat several sizes too large. The children fed the starving animal a hotdog, but it took two more to stop the pathetic cries. This routine went on for several evenings before allowing one of our children to pet it. Minutes later the cat was carried up to the back porch where I was serenaded by a chorus of CAN WE KEEP HIM?!?! Upon a closer inspection it was a him a neutered him. Seeing a crescent moon on his chest and recalling the time he was first photographed I said, “We will call him Midnight.” Cheers erupted!
Midnight was very familiar with the house it was obvious the previous owner left him behind. He took a fancy to our daughter Hannah and that thrilled her enormously, because a pet had never favored her. Being left in the wild to fend for himself Midnight had acquired some feral tendencies, but by September he had become the fat and lazy ruler of the roost. When the fall air began to have a nip about it Midnight adopted my lap for his extended slumbers. Everyone was in awe how much Midnight loved me, but the cat and I knew it was a warm place that didn’t move.
One evening we had come in from an afternoon deer hunt when the house filled with the sounds of a horrible cat fight. Hearing the deep growls our son Gavin knew this was not two tomcats scrapping. He ran out the front door to investigate and found Midnight defending his home turf from a large bobcat. The bobcat and Midnight had two more encounters before we decided he should sleep inside at night even though the house cat never sustained a scratch. Midnight continued to sleep in his favorite spot, my lap when I was in bed. Now this is going to sound like a tall tale, but it’s the gospel truth. From the first night Midnight slept inside on my thighs he remained curled up until four in the morning when he wanted to go outside. The cat got up, stretched and went directly to Carey and began biting her to be let outside. This practice continues today and never has the cat disturbed my sleep. How does this animal know? Yet, if I am in my wheelchair Midnight will gently scratch on my boot if he wants out or if I’m in bed during the day he will come in the bedroom and meow until I call someone to let him outside.
I have never been a cat person preferring hunting dogs, but I suppose I am now by default. While the cat uses me the dogs think I am the pack leader. Flip and Red follow me everywhere. The dogs protect us from strangers, but look to me for protection if it is storming. Flip respects Midnight and always yields, but Red has enough puppy left in him he tries to get Midnight to play and with complete arrogance the pup’s efforts are ignored.
Midnight is an unique cat and found a spot in all of our hearts. Have a great day! dj